India is hoping its Covid vaccine supplies will get a new push following External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to the US last week as New Delhi and Washington were able to “iron out” supply chain bottlenecks and issues around indemnity, multiple sources told ThePrint.
Discussions around China and Afghanistan also made considerable progress, ThePrint has learnt. Jaishankar began his visit to the US last Monday with the primary focus of pushing ahead the health cooperation agenda both at the bilateral level as well as under the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, with the procurement of vaccines as the main issue.
Over the past week in New York and Washington DC, Jaishankar was able to meet a cross-section of key people in the Joe Biden administration as he furthered the agenda of procurement and delivery of Covid-19 vaccines that the US has vowed to provide to India, top-level sources said.
According to the sources, Jaishankar’s first in-person visit to the US after the Biden administration came to power enabled both sides to have wide-ranging discussions on some of the issues where “differences were growing bigger” with the US. These are issues related to supply-chain bottlenecks that were impeding the smooth supplies of raw materials for vaccines as well as issues concerning indemnity and liability.
During his meeting with the officials there, the sources said, Jaishankar also had detailed discussions on the Defence Production Act that was proving to be a stumbling block for the supply of raw materials for vaccine production.